As the years pass I find myself continually amazed with every Gonzo production I stumble upon. Either they will pump out pseudo-quality series like Last Exile or downright trash like Vandread, but rarely do they get it at least somewhat right as with Hellsing. Right in this case, though, happens to have nothing to do with a substantive plot, great animation, a solid soundtrack, or good characters; no, it happens to be the fact that they created one hell of a vampire in Alucard. Though Hellsing managed to flawlessly steal 286 minutes of my life away, it somehow did not seem to be a total waste of time; oh, it was a waste of time, just not a total waste of time.
If one thing good came out of watching Hellsing, however, it's that I finally found the proper context in which to use the word discombobulated; I think I knew more about the story prior to watching. While there was a very vague inkling of a plot, it was by no means coherent, as I hadn't a clue as to most of what was going on. I guess since the series is set in England (I got that part, at least!) the writers decided to incorporate random historical references such as the Knights of the Round Table, and this made the story almost comical. Throw in an evil Vatican who is at war with England in secret, some random vampires, and a zombie infiltrated British army for good measure, and I think I make my point.
Of course, right off the bat, it becomes rather clear that none of this matters; everything that happens is little more than an excuse to show off how awesome a vampire Alucard is. Truth be told, as much as I loathed Hellsing in general, this ended up actually keeping my interest for all thirteen episodes. The series carries a very mindless, pointless feel that somehow incorporates Alucard's character quite well, and despite the fact that most of the action scenes border on boring, I found it slightly entertaining.
Gonzo's reputation for putting out high quality animation is certainly not to be doubted, as the animation qualifies as some of the best in the 2000 series bracket. Though there are a number of times the scenery gets hatchet jobbed, character detail remains consistent throughout, so I don't see a point in being too overly critical. Alucard looks his part, and being that he's the sole reason you'd watch crap like this, that's all that matters.
The dialogue in Hellsing far exceeds the norms for atrocious. Not only does the script utterly butcher English honorifics, but it uses them interchangeably with their Japanese counterparts, which makes the voice acting sound horrendously tacky. Music wise the series fared slightly better, but I noticed a number of times where the music seemed enormously out of place. While I fought the urge to turn off my sound, however, Alucard's seiyuu did a fantastic job with his character, and that proved redeeming enough to keep the volume up at slightly audible levels.
As a note, for once in a blue moon I decided to listen to the dubs for a short while - yuck; Alucard's character was not captured at all.
Alucard. Being one of the most badass vampires you will set your eyes upon, as I said before he's really the only reason you would have in watching Hellsing. Every other character served absolutely no intelligent purpose, save for Seras, who mildly captured my interest since she also showed signs of awesomeness when she got pissed. Alucard. That said, don't expect any sort of back story, progression, or development from anyone in the series, Alucard included; not that this matters, since he really has no need to change from episode one to episode thirteen. Alucard. All the characters are basically tools in a shallow action flick, so there's little more to be said. Oh, and did I mention Alucard? Alucard.
If you're tired of hearing the name Alucard by now, this review has served its purpose well. I didn't like Hellsing much at all, especially considering I had moderate expectations going in from the rather high praise given to it by a number of people. Still, if you want an incredibly bland action flick or have a desire to watch the best vampire in anime history kick some ass, I'd say it's worth a shot. Certainly not my cup of tea, but I'm sure others would enjoy it on some level.
In present day England, a war is being fought. The average citizen does not notice, but vampires are running rampant among the populace, and it's up to the Hellsing organization to contain the bloodsucker threat, using even their own weapons against them. Alucard, a vampire himself, is the best agent the organization has to offer, answering only to Integra Hellsing herself. No one knows much about this mysterious figure fighting against the occult, but things starts to change after he “recruits” a new agent to the establishment...
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!